I knew this was inevitable.
As a writer, you take the chance of being misunderstood, misread. When you’re a writer like me who finds stories in real things that grow into fiction, the risk is even greater.
I find my stories in my every day life. The stories, however, when I’m finished with them are meant to be in no way real. I get my ideas from one thing, and by time the story is over–it has turned into something totally different. I know this is risky. It has been something I’ve feared from the first time I realized I’m a “based on true story” writer. I’m always afraid I’m going to have to make a choice–hurt someone’s feelings (without intention) and let the story live or avoid the risk and kill the story.
All writers (at least all writers like me) have to hope to God that their relationships are strong enough to withstand the risk.
I remember discussing this very issue with my writing professor in college. I went by his office one afternoon in tears because I had a story burning inside of me, and I was afraid to write it. He told me that I had to make a decision and stick with it. He explained to me that there isn’t a writer out there who isn’t afraid to write their stories. Some are afraid to write because of the world of rejection. Some are afraid to write because they are afraid their stories will misrepresent their opinions. Some are afraid to write because they are like me. Writing is being vulnerable. It is allowing the outside world into your mind. It’s allowing people who may not understand you into your most intimate thoughts. He told me that if I wanted to pursue writing that I would have to develop a thick skin. This is something I’ve always struggled with, as I am a sensitive person. I hate hurting people’s feelings. I hate being misunderstood. He told me I would have to write in a way that either misunderstandings would be avoided (which he said was impossible) or that I’d have to get over my fear. He said that once I made a decision though, I needed to stick to it because no one likes a wishy/washy weak writer. I.E. Me. I made my decision that afternoon. I would have to get over my fear.
My most memorable bit of advice I’d received while in my major was from Robert Morgan (Author of Boone–Go to your local Barnes & Noble & get it, it’s great!) He taught a portion of my course while he was in town doing press for his novel–how cool is that? Anyway–his advice to us all was that we have to “raise” our stories to stand on their own two feet. When a person purchases one of our books, they don’t also get a pocket sized version of us (the author) to sit on their shoulders & make sure they are understanding the story exactly. He said that sometimes the most wonderful thing is misunderstood art. His example was that Police song: Every Breath You Take. He said people love this song–they think it is the ultimate love song–people even get MARRIED to this song. The song is about a stalker. misunderstood. misinterpreted. amazing.
Since receiving this advice, I’ve been battling with my inner-self. I am always afraid to share my writing mostly because it’s a chance for people to judge me. It’s a chance for people to see my dream and rip it up or tear me down. What I’m doing is very risky, and I’m not a ballsy enough person to pull it off–but I’m trying to be. I’ve also always been afraid to share my writing because of the chance of being misinterpreted. All of my stories run the risk of falling flawlessly into that category. If I really want to write (I mean really write, be published-quit my-day-job kind of writing) I have to do this. I have to get over this fear. I have to.
So this is me being vulnerable. This is me taking a risk. This is me chasing a dream.
but I don’t want to hurt anyone along the way…